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Suit filed against Marion County traffic court

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A suit filed today claims the Marion County traffic court judge is violating residents' constitutional rights by imposing additional fines on those who unsuccessfully challenge their tickets and closing proceedings to the public.

Plaintiffs Toshinao Ishii, Matthew Stone, and Adam Lenkowsky filed their suit in Marion Superior Court No. 11 against Marion Superior Judge William E. Young in Court No. 13 and the city of Indianapolis. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief through an order of mandamus prohibiting Judge Young to impose additional fines against defendants who fail to win their cases before the traffic and parking violations courts.

The suit, a class action complaint, also asks for a return of the fines received by the court, and to keep the traffic court from closing its courtroom to the public. The plaintiffs claim the imposition of additional fines has a chilling effect on the fair and equitable administration of justice.

According to the suit, when Judge Young took the bench in traffic court this year, he instituted a policy that defendants that come before his court and are found guilty would be fined up to an additional $500 and could even be assessed up to $10,000 plus court costs. The traffic courtroom is also open only to defendants. No one else, including parents of minors who have received tickets, can be present during procedings.

Ishii appeared in traffic court to contest a ticket; he lost and was fined an addition $400. Stone was cited for improperly wearing a seatbelt. He wears it differently because of a pacemaker and chose not to challenge the ticket because of Judge Young's policy. Lenkowsky asked to enter the courtroom as a member of the public and was denied entrance.

The suit also includes the newly opened parking citation court in Indianapolis, in which defendants who don't pay their ticket prior to a scheduled hearing may be assessed up to $2,500 in fines, according to the city of Indianapolis.

The threat of these fines violates the Eighth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, sections 12, 16 and 23 of the Indiana Constitution, according to the suit.

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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